Cheryl Gallant, MP, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke is pleased to confirm her willingness to work with members of the Renfrew County Chapter of the National Farmers Union (NFU), to place ex-convicts with prison farm experience on local farms as farm labourers.

“The National Farmers Union has identified the issue of prison farms as a priority for its organization. I am always available to work with local farm organizations on issues they deem important to them,” remarked Cheryl Gallant, MP. “An honest day of hard work on a farm may be just what is required to straighten out offenders from the big cities who get mixed up with gangs and the wrong crowd and turn to a life of drugs and stealing.”

Correctional Services, which operates Federal prisons, is in the process of winding down the operations of the prison farms. One of Correctional Services principle concerns is the need to rehabilitate criminal offenders back into society with marketable skills. It has been found that almost none of the convicts, who are spending time on the prison farms, are finding employment in the agricultural sector. In order for the prison farms to remain open to provide marketable skills to convicts who have paid their debt to society, employment opportunities must be available.

“A job is the best deterrent from returning to a life of crime. It may be that farm owners are unaware of the availability of trained farm workers from our penal system,” observed MP Gallant.
With the closest prison farm to Renfrew County near Kingston, there may be an opportunity to match these individuals here in Eastern Ontario,” said MP Gallant.

Today’s agricultural producer is required to have many skills to run a successful farm operation. In addition to being able to operate and maintain heavy machinery and equipment, he or she must be skilled in animal husbandry, part veterinarian, part mechanic, part book keeper, part weatherman, and horticulturalist, all with an ethic of hard work!

“If someone, particularly a young person, learned half those skills that make a successful farmer, they would be a better citizen.”

“If members of the local farming community are interested in matching ex-convicts, trained on a prison farm, with local farms providing room and board and employment as they transition from their previous location, I would be pleased to assist them in approaching Correctional Services Canada with this proposal,” concluded Cheryl Gallant, MP.

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